Success with infliximab in treating refractory hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis



Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare disorder characterized by fever, pancytopenia, hepatosplenomegaly, liver dysfunction, and hemophagocytosis. A 29-year-old woman, diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus in 1996, developed HLH in early June 2002. HLH remained refractory during 1.5 months of treatment including corticosteroid, cyclosporine, plasma exchange, vincristine, and etoposide. Infliximab (5 mg/kg/day) was then administered twice. After the second administration, the patient attained remission. Because HLH itself is not a neoplasm but an uncontrolled immune reaction, blocking cytokines involved in the reaction should have therapeutic potentials. For HLH patients not responding to conventional therapy, anticytokine treatment with infliximab may represent one of promising options. Am. J. Hematol. 81:59–61, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.